Paul Ryan abandons Trump, pivots to down-ballot races

Paul Ryan.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Dozens of top Republicans have distanced themselves from Donald Trump after Friday's release of a decade-old tape containing audio of Trump making vulgar comments about women. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has reportedly been considering withdrawing his support of Trump, but after a Monday morning conference call with House Republicans, stopped short of fully denouncing him.

Still, Ryan — who is expressly concerned with salvaging Republicans' chances in down-ballot races — reportedly said he would no longer defend or campaign with the Republican nominee. Instead, he plans to spend the next month putting his energy into keeping the House majority.

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"Handle Trump however it best works in each individual race," Ryan apparently told fellow Republicans, per a GOP representative privy to the conversation.

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